Chilling Out

Author's note: The third (#3) entry in Jihli and Jahy's stories. If you're not up to date, you may choose to start from the beginning at #1 Welcome Home, Jihli or return to the previous post, #2 A Moment's Respite.

After you're done reading, you may advance to the next post, #4 Minds as Cold as Ice. That post takes place after the end of the level 83 quest "No Good Deed."

Warning: This post contains semi-major Endwalker spoilers up to the point before beginning the level 82 quest "Tracks in the Snow." If you aren't comfortable with seeing such spoilers, then you should leave this post now.

If you get spoiled, I definitely gave you enough warning!

Didn't I?

Eh, good enough. Let's go, then!

The tent is small, and the sleeping bag even smaller - but for once, that's a blessing. Unlike the previous night, there's no room full of friends to laugh and talk and eat with this time. The warmth of the nap room is gone. The thick canvas wards off some of the intense wind, but it does little about the chill that's inside the tent.

But with Jahy having zipped them both up into one bag, the tent manages to be cozy despite that.

They've set no light to avoid drawing attention, and night has certainly fallen, but neither Scion is particularly interested in going to sleep just yet.

Jihli nestles against the much larger Jahy contentedly, curling her tail around her partner in heroics. "So... is it everything you expected?"

"It is a little colder than I expected," Jahy admits, pulling Jihli in closer. "But I didn't need a nightgown, just like I said. If the Garleans don't have nightgowns, then I don't need one either!"

"What. I'm pretty sure the Garleans have much thicker night clothes than nightgowns." Jihli laughs, looking over her shoulder for Jahy's expression. "I'm seriously impressed at your ability to handle the cold. I'm beginning to think you aren't really a Viera at all. Just a Viera-shaped automaton. Come on, where's that winding key that makes your ears wiggle... I know it's here somewhere..." She rolls over, playfully groping up and down Jahy's back.

"Click click click, do-not-interfere-with-my-windings," Jahy says in a monotone voice, pushing Jihli's hands away. "This-is-the-Warrior-of-Light-how-may-I-assist-you-civilian-"

Jihli giggles, ducking her head into the sleeping bag briefly before emerging again. "Yes. I'd like to know how you handle the cold."

"I trained under a waterfall," Jahy says simply. "If I could handle that, I can handle this. It's nothing, comparatively."

Jihli frowns. "Is that true?"

Jahy nods, a grave expression on her face. "Though... I will admit, Tataru's coat helped a lot while we were fighting. The chill would have been too distracting had I been fighting in my usual outfit."

"Hahaha. So she does feel the cold," Jihli says, cackling. "It's not just me..."

"Pshhh. You'd say it's cold in Thanalan." Jahy rolls her eyes. "I'll say, though, even you seemed to be warming up quite a bit when we were fighting back there."

"Oh, yeah, really gets the blood flowing..." Jihli's cheeks pinken. It's when she's fighting back to back with Jahy, stunning a tempered imperial with her shield while Jahy takes apart a magitek reaper like it's a children's toy that she feels most alive. Most safe. And that's despite the fact that she's supposed to be looking out for Jahy! She takes her role as the Warrior of Light's shield very seriously. It's where most of her injuries have come from. "Our mission is very important, too. It's good to be moving forward."

Jahy smiles distantly. "You know... This isn't how I thought I'd be coming into Garlemald, way back."

"No?" Jihli lays her head against Jahy's chest and looks up, but Jahy is staring into the canvas tent side.

"I thought I'd be here as an emissary to negotiate peace with a defeated enemy after driving the imperials back into their homeland. I thought, at worst, I'd have to take the fight to them in their homeland to get them to stop attacking us. But... This place, these people... They need help. These people aren't my enemy... no matter how much I've come to think of them as such."

Jihli nods. "And we're going to save them."

"Maybe," Jahy says, an infuriatingly faraway smile on her face. "We're going to do everything we can."

Jihli snuggles up close to Jahy. "And so long as you're here, 'everything we can' is more than enough."

"Mmm, could be... I think I'm going to get some sleep. You, too. Even us bunny automatons function best when we have some time for maintenance."

"Yeah, you're right. It's pretty late. Good night, Jahy."

Although Jihli closes her eyes, she can't seem to sleep. For some reason, Jahy's refusal to agree that they'll save the people of Garlemald is weighing on her mind.

They will. They have to. It's why they're here.

Right?

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